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UNICEF in education

Education is a fundamental human right. It benefits not only individual children, but also their families and communities for generations to come. It provides a foundation for sustainable economic and social development and can be a catalyst for peace. That is why reaching the most disadvantaged children is a key goal of UNICEF education work.

We support countries and communities in providing more children with access to primary education and early childhood development programs, making schools more child friendly by improving teaching and learning processes, and helping get children back in school during natural disasters and other crises. UNICEF supports Goal 2 of the Millennium Development Goals: "Achieve universal primary education", and is part of the joint global effort that has brought about significant improvements:

§ The number of primary school-age children who are out-of-school has been reduced from 105 million in 1990 to 61 million in 2010.

§ Enrolment in primary education in developing regions reached 90 per cent in 2010, up from 82 per cent in 1999, which means more children than ever are attending primary school.

§ Gender gaps in youth literacy rates are also narrowing. Globally, there were 95 literate young women for every 100 young men in 2010, compared with 90 women in 1990.

Our results in Malaysia include:

§ All 94 Orang Asli primary schools in West Malaysia were provided with storybooks based on Orang Asli folklore, as part of a joint project between UNICEF and its government and corporate partners. Their teachers received training to help them improve students' oral communication and writing skills.

§ The UNICEF-supported Individualised Education Plan (IEP) pilot project was carried out in 48 schools in the country, offering a systematic framework and guidelines for the education of children with special needs.

§ With UNICEF support, a database that links to the Malaysian Ministry of Education's Education Management Information System (EMIS) was developed to track out-of-school children.


Although these developments are significant, there remains much more to be done. Without bold and sustained action, global commitments to universal primary education will not be realised if current trends continue, leaving millions of children out of school and denied their right to education in 2015.

You can help meet children's right to education by supporting UNICEF. Together, we can create a world in which all children, regardless of their gender, socio-economic background or circumstances, have access to free, compulsory and quality education.



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